Insurance professional advocates look to expand industry education in Florida
Insurance workers organization seeks more education on the industry at Florida Colleges.

On hand the shield insurance protection. Assurance family health saving finance. Life and family.
FSLA officials say they’re looking to boost more programs involving educational institutions to ramp up interest in the insurance industry.

An increase in education for the insurance industry in Florida is drawing support and acknowledgement from an advocacy group specializing in the risk management and insurance profession.

February is Insurance Careers Month and the Florida Surplus Lines Association (FSLA) — a support organization for specialized insurance professionals — is drawing attention to the increasing number of educational programs in the Sunshine State aimed at drawing more people into the profession.

“Attracting talent is imperative for tackling the critical risk management challenges that demand innovative solutions,” said FSLA President David DeMott. “As the Florida Surplus Lines Association, we are proud to witness and be actively contributing to opportunities growing for the future of our profession.”

The University of South Florida (USF) was singled out by the association for special recognition for expanding educational programs designed to train future professionals in the insurance industry.

USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus added a minor insurance program in 2015 that has blossomed into a full bachelor’s degree program since 2017. The FSLA noted that was in response to insurance employers who asked the university to expand the program to respond to a shortage of industry professionals.

That program now has at least 25 students enrolled since USF consolidated its campuses and the FSLA contributed a $30,000 endowment to the program to establish the first scholarship dedicated to risk management and insurance professionals.

Ryan Schiavone was the first student to receive the scholarship and said the education is invaluable.

“When I talk to people, sometimes they are surprised when I tell them about my interest in risk management and underwriting. But I know this is the career for me and that this program will position me well at a young age to serve the industry,” Schiavone said.

FLSA officials said they’re also engaged with Florida State University and are participating in events there such as “Insurance Days” and career fairs at the Tallahassee campus.

FSLA officials say they’re looking to increase more programs involving educational institutions to ramp up interest in the insurance industry which now has an aging population of professionals across the country. The FSLA said about 75% of all insurance professionals are older than 55 and about half of the current insurance workforce is likely to retire by 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected].


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